Life with Darrell - Those Dog Days

There is something about a person who searches for artifacts relentlessly. Some may say its a chemical imbalance. I like to think it's a subconscious awareness of appreciation for countryside beauty. Like a workaholic, I've formulated different ideas and techniques into a self-awareness that works for me. Once I'm out in the field, I'm in my element, constantly scanning the ground for evidence of the prehistoric people who once inhabited the area.

Darrell, my buddy who I hunt with, soon noticed this dogged persistence and started to say that I was like a bloodhound in that I could smell the artifacts. It was a phrase I would be hearing on many occasions throughout our joint searching experiences.

Many days Darrell and I would go out searching for a new field; greener pastures. We would often look at every field we passed, and try to determine if we would find anything. We looked in many fields just because one of us would have that 'feeling' one gets. The 'feeling' is hard to describe, although it is analogous to the feeling that poker players get when they stay in a hand when most would fold. I am sure most others who look for artifacts come to recognize this feeling.

The feeling has helped me to find many fine relics, and over time, it has become so tuned into my subconscious that a few times I've bent down, picked up a point, and put it into my pocket, all the while thinking about something totally irrelevant to searching. In fact, some of my better finds have come about this way. Come to think about it, so do some of my better ideas. One day while searching a field outside of Allenton Missouri, I stopped, turned around partially, bent over and moved away a large weed leaf. There underneath the leaf was the tip of a very nice whole point sticking out of the dirt. Whatever possessed me to stop and look right there, I still do not know, but out of hundreds of bizarre finds, that one stands out.

Darrell and I would often stop and search a field just so we would know where the relics weren't. We would search a field methodically until satisfied that there was nothing to find. We would give it a good search, but quick. I felt that I would rather pass up one or two points than to spend our time more productively in a field where I could find many more than that. Sometimes, after the methodical search of a test field, we would search it in a random manner on our way out. It was at times like this where you let your subconscious take over. If there were just a few points in a large field, it was then that I normally found them. Many times, it would seem that I walked a straight line to the relic.

As soon as entering a new test field, if the prospects were slim, we would only search it in a random fashion. Many times as soon as we entered a field, I would find the only relic to be found; quite often within a few minutes of entering. Then we would both search, not finding anything else, and leave.

It has happened going into fields, coming out, walking along side of Darrell, or in the back of him. Sometimes we would be talking, and I'd quickly stop the conversation in mid-sentence, thrust my arm out pointing, and shout, 'look there.' Darrell would shake his head in wonder. Before we even got to the field, I would spot a relic either in front of us, or way off to the side.

Strange as it may seem, I often get the most out of a hunt after having a good nights sleep and dreaming of finding a nice relic. I would dream of finding a real nice banner stone or a large point, like a big dovetail. Upon waking, I would think hard about the dream, and think if I had recognized anything in the dream, such as landmarks. I would always try to go out searching the day after having those dreams, and believe it or not those are the days that I would find the real good ones. It may not of been what I had dreamed about, but it would surely do. Many folks would say that it was just that I had been thinking hard about relics in the time before I went to sleep. That may be true because I do site research during the evenings in preparing for the next day out in the field. What ever it may be caused from, hard research or the 'feeling,' I found them. I like to think it was because the research was paying off, but when I practically walk right to a point out in a huge field and then nothing else is found, I start to wonder.

Maybe I am part bloodhound. Could it be that after years of sensitizing myself for relics that maybe I could smell them as if I was a dog? Could be. I think I may mosey over to the watering hole, and boy, does my back itch. Arf, arf, arf.

By Jeff Anderson
January 11, 1994
© 1994 Jeff Anderson
Monday, October 06 1997